Back in Time Tarot Book – Janet Boyer. Derbyshire Tarot Review.

Yesterday I took one of my regular trips to London to refill the magical well and restock the bookshelves. There is a downside to such days out in that they can be horribly expensive. A poetry book fair and only two book shops yesterday and I came home with half a dozen volumes and two new tarot decks.

In an effort to help us all save a bit of money and make good use of what’s available for free, I started working through Derbyshire Libraries’ collection of tarot books this summer. There is rather more than you’d expect and first up was The Back In Time Tarot Book by Janet Boyer.

The Back In Time Tarot Book by Janet Boyer


The method Janet uses involves choosing cards and overlaying them onto stories and in doing so, gaining deeper insight or understanding of both the cards and events. She demonstrates the method with personal stories from other tarot readers, significant political or cultural moments and popular films and stories as examples.

In connecting cards to life events, the reader builds up a collection of very personal associations with the images and characters represented. The Back In Time method has the valuable assets of hindsight and choice attached to it. Everything is, of course, always so much clearer when we see it from some distance and choosing the cards gives us a level of control that we might not always have had at the time we were sick or lost our job or a relationship ended.

What the tarot offers is a new window to look through. When we receive a tarot reading, we are shown what is, what was or what could be. There is a risk with this method we reinforce the stories we tell ourselves even if they are not objectively true.Though there is always interpretation of course, by creating our own very particular meanings for the cards based on a subjective vision of our history, we run the risk of not allowing the cards themselves to speak their truths.

I find the method of translating significant public or political events into tarot is very helpful for seeing bigger patterns and I think this might be where the strength of the approach lies. I was a little fed up by rather stodgy retellings of film plots, it has to be said, but I could see the value in such a thing as a workshop exercise.

You can find Janet and her many tarot creations at her website

Back in Time Tarot is now back in the stacks so do take time to borrow it and let me know how you get on.

Book haul

Last Saturday took me to London. Though town was filled with its usual mix of exchange students and protesters, I managed to avoid the crowds and swung by Watkins Books on Cecil Court. I usually visit with a good friend, and somehow we always manage to time our arrival with that of a Harry Potter walking tour. They were there again and as ever it was hard to resist the urge to barge in somehow, perhaps if only to redeem Divination as a subject. I’ve never quite got over Hermione’s dismissive ‘…such a woolly discipline’.

Tarot cards on bookcase
Tarot shelves at Watkins Books


Despite being confronted by the image above, somehow I managed to avoid a new deck purchase – it’s actually easy to feel overwhelmed by the choice at Watkins – but I don’t think I have ever left the shop without buying something. Instead I found myself with a very heavy tote bag of books right at the start of the day.

Robert M Place, long term tarot reader, writer and creator, released last year a doorstep of a book.  His The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism and Neoplatonism came home with me, along with Lo Scarabeo’s Tarot Compendium and Tarot Beyond the Basics by Anthony Louis, published by Llewellyn.

None of these is your beginners guide to the Tarot, but the Place book is certainly very readable so far. I am now at the stage where I want to delve deeper and connect the threads between diverse religious and esoteric traditions within the framework of the cards and all of these volumes offer ample opportunity to do just that. Reviews will follow once I’ve ploughed through around two thousand pages!